Yesterday, my wife spent some time setting up her "my space page", which I absolutely refuse to do for myself, and when she got it done, she was pretty happy with herself. I helped her with some images and that was that.
Later on in the evening, she mentioned that she had received an email from Annie (my sister-in-law who I love) warning her that her page had a virus on it.
I kind of looked at her and chuckled. She gave me an inquisitive look probably meant to ask "what's that look for?
" and so I told her...
"Viruses made for windows don't really work on Linux, and so few viruses exist for Linux, it's pretty rare that one gets infected by one." I then told her that she could probably go and download the virus on her page and even run it
without worrying that anything would happen. Albeit that advice is pretty horrible.
With some simple research, I found that finding anything up-to-date written on the number of viruses in existence is pretty difficult. I did find one report
that had data up to Feb. 2006, which stated that there were probably 100,000 viruses in existence at the time. I also found another report
which stated that the Linux virus count has hovered around 500 for the past two years.
Hmm... That makes the total virus count for Linux to be 0.5% of all viruses.
That's not many viruses at all.
I'm hesitant to say it, simply because it's not too smart, but what the hey, in the light of really letting people know at least one benefit of running Linux, here goes...
I've been running a web server, email server, mythtv server, and file server at home now for 3 years straight - on the same box, running the same version of Linux the entire time. During those three years I have done nothing to "secure" that box except regular updates to the packages running on it. There is no antivirus, pop-up blocker, spyware remover, firewall, or anything else running on it to keep it safe. I just use good computing common sense and of this, I can say:
I have had zero viruses, spyware, or any other type of malware installed on that box during its tenure as my server. ZERO.
In fact, it never slows down, it never needs a reboot (unless I update the kernel), and it just keeps plugging along as if it were a new installation. I have occasional problems due to problems with the packages, but I can't remember any time when a package has caused me to have to reboot the entire machine. Oh, there was a time when the root partition failed due to a hardware failure of the hard drive, but that was fixed in about six hours, and had nothing to do with Linux.
Now, this needs at least a little clarification. Do I recommend running Linux with no protection at all? Absolutely not!
I'm doing it simply because I'm lazy and I haven't had any trouble yet. I consider myself lucky. However, in the same breath, would I ever consider at all, at any time, under any circumstance, doing the same thing with Windows? Uh... you're nuts if you don't think you'd be hacked in a matter of minutes.
So... Although I don't recommend going unprotected with Linux, I'd think you were completely off your rocker if you did it with Windows.
I guess the sum of it all is:
If you don't want to struggle with viruses anymore, you should really consider using Linux.